by Mike Masnick
Mon, Apr 7th 2008 10:02pm
Earlier this year, we wrote about how common it was becoming for companies to send out "pre-settlement" letters to people they haven't yet accused of a crime. While these are well-known for groups like the RIAA, they're also used by big retailers and were famously used by DirecTV against anyone it thought might have been stealing satellite TV. The letter basically demands an upfront payment to get the company not to sue. And, of course, the letter includes all sorts of threatening legalese about how going to court will be expensive and time consuming, suggesting that it's much easier to just pay up. While these "extortion-lite" letters in the US grow in popularity, it looks like folks in Europe aren't so willing to let them pass. A lawyer representing Logistep, a company that has recently run into trouble in both Italy and Switzerland for its tactics in trying to sniff out file sharers, has been banned from practicing law for six months by the Paris Bar Council. The lawyer had been sending out these types of letters demanding 400 euros not to sue, and the Paris Bar apparently felt this was rather problematic. Somehow I doubt we'll see the same sort of thing happen in the US any time soon.
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